Rodgers, Packers slip past 49ers 30-28

The Green Bay Packers kicker Mason Croby coverts a 51 yard field goal on the very last play of the game against the San Francisco 49ers for the win at Levi Stadium on Sunday Night Football on Sep 26, 2021 (AP News photo)

By Joe Hawkes
Staff Writer

SANTA CLARA, Calif — Jimmy Garoppolo hooked up with fullback Kyle Juszczyk on a 12-yard touchdown pass that gave the 49ers a slim 28-27 lead with 37 seconds left, but that appeared to be too much time for Aaron Rodgers, who completed two deep passes to wide receiver Devante Adams setting up Mason Crosby’s 51-yard field goal on the final play of the game that gave the Packers a 30-28 win over San Francisco on Sunday night.

“My first thoughts in devising how I wanted to get us into field-goal range was how could I get the ball to 17,” Rodgers said.

Rodgers made that task look easy, connecting on passes of 25 and 17 yards to Adams that setup the game-winning score by Crosby. Adams finished the game with 12 catches for 132 yards.

Adams briefly left the game after taking a big hit from safety Jimmie Ward that looked like it would knock him out of the game.

Green Bay jumped out to a fast start, scoring on their first two possessions. On the Packers opening drive of the game, Rodgers completed a 42-yard pass to wide receiver Allen Lazard setting up a 54-yard field goal by Crosby.

Following a punt by San Francisco, Rodgers orchestrated a seven-play, 80-yard drive highlighted by a 47-yard completion to wide receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling setting up a short touchdown pass to Adams. The score put Green Bay up, 10-0.

Rodgers started the game razor-sharp, completing 9-of-9 passing for 127 yards and a touchdown in the first quarter. For the game, Rodgers completed 23-of-33 passing for 261 yards and two touchdowns.

In his last two games, both wins, Rodgers has thrown six touchdowns and no interceptions after throwing no touchdowns and two interceptions in Green Bay’s (2-1) 38-3 loss to the New Orleans Saints in Week 1.

Following an interception thrown by Garoppolo, who was looking for tight end George Kittle in double-coverage, the Packers added a 3-yard touchdown run by running back Aaron Jones putting Green Bay up 17-0 late in the first half.

The 49ers (2-1) avoided being shut out in the first half when they scored on the final play. After Garoppolo got away with an apparent intentional grounding that would have ended the half, rookie quarterback Trey Lance came in for his first snap since the season opener in Detroit. He ran the ball behind a massive block from left tackle Trent Williams for a 1-yard score that cut Green Bay’s lead to 17-7 at halftime.

For Garoppolo, it was the second-straight game that he had to shake off a slow start before the 49ers rallied from a 17-point deficit. Garoppolo finished the game 25-of-40 passing for 257 yards, two touchdowns, one interception and one fumble lost. After only being sacked once in the first two games, Garoppolo was sacked four times by the Packers on Sunday night.

“There were some great individual efforts of guys just making unbelievable plays that got us in and gave us a chance to win that game,” coach Kyle Shanahan said. “But some mistakes that we made throughout the game, you don’t win a lot of football doing that. That’s what we’ve got to clean up.”

In the third quarter, San Francisco cut Green Bay’s lead to 17-14 following a 13-play, 83-yard drive in 7:19 that was capped off by an 8-yard touchdown pass from Garoppolo to wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk.

Rodgers threw a 12-yard touchdown pass to Valdes-Scantling that gave the Packers a 24-14 lead early in the fourth quarter.

San Francisco responded with a touchdown of their own, after rookie running back Trey Sermon plunged in from 1-yard trimming the Packers lead to 24-21.

Following an inexplicable throw to the ground behind him by Garoppolo after trying to avoid a sack by defensive tackle Kenny Clark, the Packers recovered the miscue setting up a 38-yard field goal by Crosby that made the score, 27-21 in favor of the Packers.

Shortly thereafter, Garoppolo responded with a touchdown drive but it wasn’t enough for the 49ers, who returned home after spending the first two weeks of the season back East. The loss at home in the team’s home opening game stings, seeing that it was the first time fans were inside Levi’s Stadium since Jan. 2020.

“There’s always too much time on the clock if there’s ever time on the clock, especially with Aaron Rodgers,” tight end George Kittle said. “I think we have a really good defense. I don’t really have any worries when our defense is out on the field. But it’s Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams over there. They did what they had to do to win.”

Kittle finished with seven catches for 92 yards.

The 49ers host the Seattle Seahawks in Week 4, while the Packers welcome the Pittsburgh Steelers to Lambeau Field.

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